Have you heard of Ed Fitzgerald? No, he’s not a character from Boardwalk Empire. He’s a Democratic candidate for Ohio governor next year. In fact, Mr. Ed is the only Democratic candidate that has stepped up to take on Governor John Kasich in 2014.
Does his name still not ring a bell? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Mr. Ed launched his campaign with a tour around the state that drew fewer people than a “Hipsters for Nickelback” convention.
So Mr. Ed’s campaign launch was a dud. Who cares? He has a long time to redeem himself, and Governor Kasich is still polling under 50% in a head-to-head match-up. The question that really matters is, What is Mr. Ed running on?
According to Mr. Ed’s campaign web page, the former Chicago crime fighter and long-time mayor of Lakewood wants to (1) cut spending; (2) create new jobs; (3) protect existing jobs; (4) safeguard government pensions; (5) improve education; and (6) bring transparency to Columbus.
How will Mr. Ed achieve these goals?
(1) Mr. Ed wants to cut waste from government. He doesn’t say how he is going to do this or how much this waste is actually costing the taxpayer. Nor does Mr. Ed name any programs he would curtail or eliminate except perhaps Jobs Ohio, which is actually a private non-profit that dares to actually be more efficient than state government. [Read an opposing viewpoint on OCR: “JobsOhio or BigGovOhio?”]
(2) Speaking of which, Mr. Ed wants to focus on “economic development,” which, translated from campaign speak, means “the government will spend more of your money to do what the private sector does well all by itself when it so desires.” Not sure how this squares with point number one, but so be it.
(3) Mr. Ed wants to protect our existing jobs. How? By rewarding successful businesses with tax cuts or eliminating burdensome regulations? No. Actually, he wants to repeal Governor Kasich’s recent income tax cut. So, by protecting existing jobs, he apparently means hiring people away from the private sector to the public sector to work on the “economic development” of point number two.
(4) Mr. Ed vows to protect state pension programs. Of course, we need to keep our promise to teachers, firemen, and police officers. But how are we going to afford to keep our promise while spending more money to execute points two and three? Mr. Ed doesn’t say. Yes, these may be the policies that ruined Detroit and are threatening to bankrupt Chicago and all of California, but just because it has happened everywhere it has been tried doesn’t mean it will happen here.
(5) Mr. Ed also wants to improve education. He doesn’t say how, but he does boast about Cuyahoga County’s first government-sponsored savings account for each child in the Cleveland area to go to college. If you aren’t familiar with a government-sponsored savings account, it is essentially a tax on everyone to create a pool of money with an annual return only slightly smaller than a passbook account.
(6) Finally, Mr. Ed wants to bring transparency to Columbus. He claims to have already done this successfully in Cleveland, where he has served a whole two and half-years as the first County Executive. The result of those thirty-six months? The Plain Dealer reported on August 6 that a state audit of the county revealed “discrepancies.” Maybe that’s what Mr. Ed means by transparency: after the damage is already done, an audit will let everyone know about it.
Well, folks that’s Mr. Ed. His policies are nuttier than Amanda Bynes and his track record is shorter than the line to see the Lone Ranger, but at least you now know who he is and what he wants to do. I would guess that when more people get to know Mr. Ed and his policies, his odds of winning will be about the same as Bob Filner being asked to address a group of feminists.
Unless, of course, we take Mr. Ed’s defeat for granted. And if there’s one thing that politics in the Buckeye State has made clear, assuming their own victories is not something that conservatives can afford to do.
Matt Rawlings is an attorney, pastor, former Congressional aide, past music video director and prodigal preacher’s kid. Matt resides in Portsmouth, Ohio with his wife Emily, his son Jackson and his dog Duke (named after John Wayne not the university). Matt blogs regularly at www.pastormattblog.com
All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.